Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is ... or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, science, TED2015, 2015
As manager of the Rosetta mission, Fred Jansen was responsible for the successful 2014 landing of a probe on the comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In this fascinating and funny talk, Jansen reveals some of the intricate calculations that went into landing the Philae probe on a comet 500 million kilometers from Earth — and shares some incredible photographs taken along the way. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, rocket science, science, space, technology, TED2015, 2015
Did you know that you're 30 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilarious dash through the science of the topic. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, humor, neuroscience, science, TED2015, 2015
Early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can improve the lives of everyone affected, but the complex network of causes make it incredibly difficult to predict. At TEDxPeachtree, Ami Klin describes a new early detection method that uses eye-tracking technologies to gauge babies' social engagement skills and reliably measure their risk of developing autism. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, TEDxFeatured, cognitive science, mental health, psychology, science, tedx,...
How do you remember where you parked your car? How do you know if you're moving in the right direction? Neuroscientist Neil Burgess studies the neural mechanisms that map the space around us, and how they link to memory and imagination. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDSalon London Spring 2011, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, exploration,...
Treo creator Jeff Hawkins urges us to take a new look at the brain -- to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, AI, brain, cognitive science, computers, intelligence, memory,...
Juan Enriquez challenges our definition of bioenergy. Oil, coal, gas and other hydrocarbons are not chemical but biological products, based on plant matter -- and thus, growable. Our whole approach to fuel, he argues, needs to change. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biodiversity, biotech, business, energy, science, technology, tedbooks,...
Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, neuroscience, science, youth, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
Biologist Richard Dawkins makes a case for "thinking the improbable" by looking at how the human frame of reference limits our understanding of the universe. favorite ( 1 reviews ) Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2005, TED, Talks, astronomy, biology, cognitive science, cosmos, evolution,...
In this short talk, psychologist Dan Ariely tells two personal stories that explore scientific conflict of interest: How the pursuit of knowledge and insight can be affected, consciously or not, by shortsighted personal goals. When we're thinking about the big questions, he reminds us, let's be aware of our all-too-human brains. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, cognitive science, economics, medical research, science, technology,...
Author George Dyson spins the story of Project Orion, a massive, nuclear-powered spacecraft that could have taken us to Saturn in five years. His insider’s perspective and a secret cache of documents bring an Atomic Age dream to life. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, NASA, future, history, physics, rocket science, science, space, storytelling,...
Neuroscientist Uri Hasson researches the basis of human communication, and experiments from his lab reveal that even across different languages, our brains show similar activity, or become "aligned," when we hear the same idea or story. This amazing neural mechanism allows us to transmit brain patterns, sharing memories and knowledge. "We can communicate because we have a common code that presents meaning," Hasson says. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, collaboration, communication, language, mind,...
What does a disgusting image have to do with how you vote? Equipped with surveys and experiments, psychologist David Pizarro demonstrates a correlation between sensitivity to disgusting cues -- a photo of feces, an unpleasant odor -- and moral and political conservatism. (Filmed at TEDxEast.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, choice, cognitive science, morality, politics, psychology, science,...
Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, brain, cognitive science, evolution, neurology, science, TEDIndia...
How do babies learn so much from so little so quickly? In a fun, experiment-filled talk, cognitive scientist Laura Schulz shows how our young ones make decisions with a surprisingly strong sense of logic, well before they can talk. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, brain, children, cognitive science, mind, science, youth, TED2015, 2015
In this factual talk, geneticist Wendy Chung shares what we know about autism spectrum disorder — for example, that autism has multiple, perhaps interlocking, causes. Looking beyond the worry and concern that can surround a diagnosis, Chung and her team look at what we’ve learned through studies, treatments and careful listening. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, genetics, health, neuroscience, science, TED2014, 2014
Philosopher-comedian Emily Levine talks (hilariously) about science, math, society and the way everything connects. She's a brilliant trickster, poking holes in our fixed ideas and bringing hidden truths to light. Settle in and let her ping your brain. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2002, TED, Talks, cognitive science, comedy, entertainment, humor, philosophy,...
Imagine what we could learn about diseases by studying the history of human disease, from ancient hominids to the present. But how? TED Fellow Christina Warinner is an achaeological geneticist, and she's found a spectacular new tool -- the microbial DNA in fossilized dental plaque. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, evolution, medicine, paleontology, science, TED2012, 2012
What is killing the Tasmanian devil? A virulent cancer is infecting them by the thousands -- and unlike most cancers, it's contagious. Researcher Elizabeth Murchison tells us how she's fighting to save the Taz, and what she's learning about all cancers from this unusual strain. Contains disturbing images of facial cancer. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, animals, biology, cancer, science, 2011
At age 12, Freeman Hrabowski marched with Martin Luther King. Now he's president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he works to create an environment that helps under-represented students -- specifically African-American, Latino and low-income learners -- get degrees in math and science. He shares the four pillars of UMBC's approach. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, education, inequality, math, science, technology, TED2013, 2013
The biggest surprise of discovering the Higgs boson? That there were no surprises. Gian Giudice talks us through a problem in theoretical physics: what if the Higgs field exists in an ultra-dense state that could mean the collapse of all atomic matter? With wit and charm, Giudice outlines a grim fate -- and why we shouldn't start worrying just yet. (Filmed at TEDxCERN.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, physics, science, universe, TEDxCERN, 2013
Eythor Bender of Berkeley Bionics brings onstage two amazing exoskeletons, HULC and eLEGS -- robotic add-ons that could one day allow a human to carry 200 pounds without tiring, or allow a wheelchair user to stand and walk. It's a powerful onstage demo, with implications for human potential of all kinds. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, design, science, technology, 2011
High school science teacher Tyler DeWitt was ecstatic about a lesson plan on bacteria (how cool!) -- and devastated when his students hated it. The problem was the textbook: it was impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and extreme precision, and instead make science sing through stories and demonstrations. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, children, education, science, TEDxBeaconStreet, 2012
At TEDxMaastricht, Daniel Kraft offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine, powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient's bedside. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxMaastricht, TED, Talks, design, health care, science, technology, 2011
What do rap shows, barbershop banter and Sunday services have in common? As Christopher Emdin says, they all hold the secret magic to enthrall and teach at the same time — and it’s a skill we often don't teach to educators. The science advocate (and cofounder of Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. with the GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan) offers a vision to make the classroom come alive. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, education, music, science, TED@NYC, 2013
While studying for his Ph.D in physics, Uri Alon thought he was a failure because all his research paths led to dead ends. But, with the help of improv theater, he came to realize that there could be joy in getting lost. A call for scientists to stop thinking of research as a direct line from question to answer, but as something more creative. It's a message that will resonate, no matter what your field. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, creativity, science, theater, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
With never-before-seen video, primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo (a TED Fellow) shows how bonobo ape society learns from constantly playing -- solo, with friends, even as a prelude to sex. Indeed, play appears to be the bonobos' key to problem-solving and avoiding conflict. If it works for our close cousins, why not for us? Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, TED Fellows, science, 2011
Marlene Zuk delightedly, determinedly studies insects. In this enlightening, funny talk, she shares just some of the ways that they are truly astonishing — not least for the creative ways they have sex. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, biology, insects, science, sex, TEDWomen 2015, 2015
Clifford Stoll captivates his audience with a wildly energetic sprinkling of anecdotes, observations, asides -- and even a science experiment. After all, by his own definition, he's a scientist: "Once I do something, I want to do something else." Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, education, science, technology, web, TED2006, 2006
Philosopher John Searle lays out the case for studying human consciousness -- and systematically shoots down some of the common objections to taking it seriously. As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. And no, he says, consciousness is not a massive computer simulation. (Filmed at TEDxCERN.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, consciousness, philosophy, science, TEDxCERN, 2013
At TED2012, filmmaker Karen Bass shares some of the astonishing nature footage she's shot for the BBC and National Geographic -- including brand-new, previously unseen footage of the tube-lipped nectar bat, who feeds in a rather unusual way … Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, animals, film, nature, science, TED2012, 2012
In a zippy demo at TED U, AnnMarie Thomas shows how two different kinds of homemade play dough can be used to demonstrate electrical properties -- by lighting up LEDs, spinning motors, and turning little kids into circuit designers. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, education, science, technology, 2011
Decades ago, few pediatricians had heard of autism. In 1975, 1 in 5,000 kids was estimated to have it. Today, 1 in 68 is on the autism spectrum. What caused this steep rise? Steve Silberman points to “a perfect storm of autism awareness” — a pair of doctors with an accepting view, an unexpected pop culture moment and a new clinical test. But to really understand, we have to go back further to an Austrian doctor by the name of Hans Asperger, who published a pioneering paper in 1944.... Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, culture, history, TED2015, 2015
Science columnist Lee Hotz describes a remarkable project at WAIS Divide, Antarctica, where a hardy team are drilling into ten-thousand-year-old ice to extract vital data on our changing climate. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, climate change, news, science, TEDGlobal 2010, 2010
We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxBloomington, TED, Talks, business, happiness, psychology, science, 2011
After a traumatic brain injury, it sometimes happens that the brain can repair itself, building new brain cells to replace damaged ones. But the repair doesn't happen quickly enough to allow recovery from degenerative conditions like motor neuron disease (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS). Siddharthan Chandran walks through some new techniques using special stem cells that could allow the damaged brain to rebuild faster. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, health, neuroscience, science, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
Throughout human evolution, multiple versions of humans co-existed. Could we be mid-upgrade now? At TEDxSummit, Juan Enriquez sweeps across time and space to bring us to the present moment -- and shows how technology is revealing evidence that suggests rapid evolution may be under way. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, culture, evolution, genetics, science, TEDxSummit, 2012
An insect's ability to fly is perhaps one of the greatest feats of evolution. Michael Dickinson looks at how a common housefly takes flight with such delicate wings, thanks to a clever flapping motion and flight muscles that are both powerful and nimble. But the secret ingredient: the incredible fly brain. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, insects, science, TEDxCaltech, 2013
A dung beetle has a brain the size of a grain of rice, and yet shows a tremendous amount of intelligence when it comes to rolling its food source -- animal excrement -- home. How? It all comes down to a dance. (Filmed at TEDxWitsUniversity.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, animals, insects, science, TEDxWitsUniversity, 2012
How can robots learn to stabilize on rough terrain, walk upside down, do gymnastic maneuvers in air and run into walls without harming themselves? Robert Full takes a look at the incredible body of the cockroach to show what it can teach robotics engineers. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, animals, design, robots, science, technology, TED2014, 2014
How do we find planets -- even habitable planets -- around other stars? By looking for tiny dimming as a planet passes in front of its sun, TED Fellow Lucianne Walkowicz and the Kepler mission have found some 1,200 potential new planetary systems. With new techniques, they may even find ones with the right conditions for life. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, exploration, science, technology, universe, 2011
Is there an equation for intelligence? Yes. It’s F = T ∇ Sτ. In a fascinating and informative talk, physicist and computer scientist Alex Wissner-Gross explains what in the world that means. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.) Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, intelligence, mind, physics, science, TEDxBeaconStreet 2013, 2013
Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side -- and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, culture, neuroscience, psychology, science, TED2012, 2012
In 1812, four men at Cambridge University met for breakfast. What began as an impassioned meal grew into a new scientific revolution, in which these men -- who called themselves “natural philosophers” until they later coined “scientist” -- introduced four major principles into scientific inquiry. Historian and philosopher Laura Snyder tells their intriguing story. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, history, science, storytelling, technology, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
"Life comes at us very quickly, and what we need to do is take that amorphous flow of experience and somehow extract meaning from it." In this funny, enlightening talk, educational psychologist Peter Doolittle details the importance -- and limitations -- of your "working memory," that part of the brain that allows us to make sense of what's happening right now. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, education, memory, science, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
Physicist and surfer Garrett Lisi presents a controversial new model of the universe that -- just maybe -- answers all the big questions. If nothing else, it's the most beautiful 8-dimensional model of elementary particles and forces you've ever seen. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, physics, science, technology, TED2008, 2008
Sensing the motives and feelings of others is a natural talent for humans. But how do we do it? Here, Rebecca Saxe shares fascinating lab work that uncovers how the brain thinks about other peoples' thoughts -- and judges their actions. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, morality, science, technology, TEDGlobal 2009, 2009
Dean Ornish talks about simple, low-tech and low-cost ways to take advantage of the body's natural desire to heal itself. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2004, TED, Talks, health, health care, medicine, science, 2004
Working with a team of physicists, Dr. Deborah Rhodes developed a new tool for tumor detection that's 3 times as effective as traditional mammograms for women with dense breast tissue. The life-saving implications are stunning. So why haven't we heard of it? Rhodes shares the story behind the tool's creation, and the web of politics and economics that keep it from mainstream use. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDWomen, TED, Talks, business, cancer, medicine, science, technology, 2010
Should we keep the outdoors out of hospitals? Ecologist and TED Fellow Jessica Green has found that mechanical ventilation does get rid of many types of microbes, but the wrong kinds: the ones left in the hospital are much more likely to be pathogens. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, health, microbiology, science, 2011